Distinguished Alumnus
Class of 2016

Dr. Charles Edward (Ed) Harshbarger, Jr.
(October 12, 1940 – January 20, 2013)

AHS Class of 1958

Charles Edward Harshbarger, Jr. was born October 12, 1940, the son of Charles Edward, Sr. and Alma Grace Swick Harshbarger. He graduated from Arcola High School in 1958, where he excelled both scholastically and athletically. Ed shared the four-year scholastic award with only two others in his class. He was assistant editor of the school yearbook and was also on the staff of the school newspaper his junior and senior years. For four years he was a member of the Lettermen’s Club, and as a senior, served as its secretary-treasurer. Ed was a member of the Pep Club and the Future Farmers of America, serving as FFA president during his junior year. He served on the AHS Student Council and acted in the senior class play. Ed was selected to receive the SAR award for 1958.

“Easy Ed,” as he was known in high school, was the only member of his class to be recognized for the four-year athletic award. He was Co-Captain of the Arcola football team that won the 1957 Okaw Valley championship and was also Captain of the 1957-58 Arcola basketball team, leading the team to the “Sweet 16” level for the first time in the school’s history. For the 1957-58 basketball season, Ed was an “All-Conference,” “All-Area” and an “All-State” selection. The Chicago American named him to their “All-Southern Illinois Prep Team.” The Champaign News-Gazette named Ed to their “East Central Stars” team. Ed won the Arcola Free Throw Award all four years in high school, shooting between 68% and 71%. He was the first AHS athlete to score more than 1,000 points and ended his basketball career at Arcola as the all-time scoring leader with 1,618 points. Ed is still ranked 5th of Arcola High School’s leading scorers.

After graduation from high school, Ed attended the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana. For two years he was a member of the Fighting Illini basketball team, and then served as team manager his third year. Ed was an officer of Sigma Chi social fraternity. In 1962, he graduated from the University of Illinois with a degree in Agricultural Economics and then continued his studies there to earn a Master’s degree in the same field of study in 1964. Ed completed his Ph.D. degree in Agricultural Economics from Purdue University in Lafayette, Indiana, and next accepted the position as Assistant Professor of Economics at the University of Missouri for four years.

Prior to 1983, Ed served as an officer in the Economic Analysis Division of the Federal Reserve Bank in Kansas City, Missouri. In 1983, he joined the Farm Credit Administration (FCA) in Washington, D.C., as an agricultural economist and was named division director in 1985. Twice his colleagues honored him with the FCA Peer Award for “fairness and integrity.” He published articles for both the Federal Reserve Bank and for the FCA. For many years, Dr. Harshbarger delivered speeches nationwide for the FCA and continued as their consultant after his retirement. He contributed significantly to his chosen field of agriculture, and used his education and life experiences to become a successful, positive contributor to society.

In 1962, Ed married Lianne Marian Allen, and from that union produced two daughters and a son: Shannon, Lance and Allison. He married Mehrangiz “Mary” Khanizadeh in 1987, who had two children: Kayvan and Yasmin. Ed was proud of his nine grandchildren and two step-grandchildren.

Ed loved golf, whitewater rafting, skiing, and had a keen interest in Civil War history. For several years he volunteered at the Wolf Trap Theater in Vienna, Virginia. He also volunteered and participated in activities involving the handicapped. “He was a silent volunteer and would help anyone in any way he could.”

On January 20, 2013, Dr. Harshbarger died of cancer at his home in Great Falls, Fairfax County, Virginia. “His optimism and confidence set him apart and gave him an amazing will to make life worth living. People that knew him all spoke of his understated intelligence and willingness to help.” Although his interests took him far away, Dr. Harshbarger always considered Arcola to be his home.

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Last Revision November 11, 2017